This article was authored by Marjorie Dannenfelser and Andy Puzder for RealClear Politics on September 15, 2022.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, pro-life advocates would be wise to acknowledge the country’s mood. Millions of Americans have lived their entire lives when their opinions on abortion had little impact on its legality. The Dobbs case changed that. For the first time in generations, the people’s views – and votes – will have a real impact on the law. But after half a century of court-imposed abortion on demand, many Americans are skeptical of sweeping limits and pro-life Republicans’ intentions.
Since the high court’s June decision, the importance of abortion as an issue in the upcoming midterm elections has increased significantly. An impressive 83% of Democrats and 53% of independent voters say the ruling would make them more likely to vote in November, according to a recent Wall Street Journal poll. For Republicans, the number was 31%.
Pro-lifers recently saw the impact of this trend in Kansas when voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot initiative stating that there is no right to abortion in the state’s constitution. Democrats were able to frame the initiative as an effort by pro-life “extremists” to open the way to a total ban without exceptions such as for rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. As a result, it failed.
Republicans need to get better when talking about abortion. It does not help when they run away from the issue – or worse, speak insensitively. If they are to avoid Democrats’ effectively using abortion as a political cudgel, Republicans must factor in the mindset created by half a century under Roe while also expressing compassion for the needs of women facing unexpected pregnancies.
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